Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tomato Salad Days

After getting back from vacation, which was delightful although expensive (maybe I'll even do a travel post, how novel), I was not up for much cooking but also didn't want to have to buy lunches this week.  So I fell back on the summer staple of tomato and bread salads.  They are super easy, especially if you have some stale bread on hand.  It's basically just chop, dump, shake, and then sit back and let the bread soak up the goodness.  The only tip, as it were, is to make sure you really season (ie salt) the tomatoes (and zucchini if you use them) to get them to give up their juices, which then soak into the bread.  (And chili flakes, but I'm pretty sure they make everything better.)

This is endlessly adaptable, even outside of summer, as you don't even necessarily need to use tomatoes.  You basically just need bread and some sort of vegetable - it's basically panzanella.  You can use whatever you have on hand, cooking or leaving raw as the vegetables dictate.  There are panzanella recipes everywhere online.  Go forth and throw your favorite vegetables together with some stale bread.  And then take prettier pictures than I have.

Summer Tomato and Bread Salad:

Day old bread, torn into shards or diced
2 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced
2-3 tomatoes, diced
chili flakes
olive oil
balsamic vinegar

Preheat over to 400.  Toss the bread shards with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt/pepper.  Bake for about ten minutes or until crispy, tossing once to help cook evenly.

Throw all ingredients in a bowl, season with salt/pepper/chili flakes, and then pour olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste. Toss to combine, and ideally let sit for 15 minutes to a couple of hours to let them juices soak into the bread.

(If packing for a lunch, I like to make it in the morning and layer bread on bottom of container, cover with chopped vegetables, season the vegetables, pour the dressing over, and then shake it all up before eating.)

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